Featured Pro: Curtis Stone Category: Cooking Time: 4:51
CURTIS STONE: Vegetables in season are one of my favorite things. Some of them will be a little more difficult to wash and prepare than others. I’m Curtis Stone. And in this next GMC Trade Secret, I’m going to show you how to take care of just that. Come with me.
Now, here’s the first revelation when it comes to vegetables. They grow in dirt. That’s the truth. They grow in sand. They grow in dirt. So what you’re going to find with certain veggies, like the leek right here, is it’s going to have still a little bit of dirt, a bit of residue; the beets as well. They’ve got different little areas that the sand or the dirt can get caught in.
So what we want to do is make sure that we’re free of the soil. The last thing that you want is a bit of gritty feeling in your teeth when you’re eating your lovely veggies. So I’m going to show you some really quick, simple ways to clean them.
Now, mushrooms are particularly special, because what you don’t want to do with mushrooms is saturate them in water. What happens is they’re very porous, so they’ll take on a lot of that water. And then, when you try and cook them, that water will be released and they’ll go soggy.
So here’s what you do. Most of these mushrooms are cultivated in pretty dry sort of environments, but you might find just the tiniest bit of soil still on them. So what I do is just get a pastry brush and give them a good brush like that all around, and then you turn them over and you can even give them a bit of a brush just inside the gills there if you think there’s a possibility of a bit of sand.
Now, on the occasion that you get a really sandy one, what you can do is just peel that skin right off. So of course you’ll be taking the sand with you. Same goes for the little ones. It’s exactly the same, only they’re smaller, so you just get those little buttons. And see how there might be just a tiny bit of soil there? Just brush them off just like that. Another way of doing it is you get a little bit of kitchen paper that’s just been dampened and just give it a wipe.
Next, what’s really important with your beets is just at the top here, around this top part. So usually you’ll just trim off a little bit of that greenery, okay, and then – well, maybe even a bit more – and then, just up in here, you can get a little bit of sand caught. So what I like to do is get a small knife and just pull back just that tiny little bit at the top.
The other thing you can do is get a veggie brush and make sure you keep it separate from the one that washes the pots. You can see this one’s got a little vegetable brush, so there’s no mistake. And what you do is you just give it a good scrub up there on the top and then make sure you take it over the sink and get plenty of cold water straight in there to sort of loosen it up and make sure that you get rid of any excess sand that might be trapped in there.
Next I want to show you baby spinach. Now, spinach is a beautiful vegetable. It’s so good for you. But look at this. Quite often you’ll get it and you’ll see there’s little bit of sand, a little bit of soil that’s just been left. So what you want to do is take your leaves, just break them off like that, and then submerge them in water. Okay, so it’s like that. So you toss it all in.
Then you think to yourself, it doesn’t look too bad. But what happens, once you get in and you give it a good sort of a shake around, all right - make sure that you give it a good move, allowing any of that sand to come free. And then you pick it up and pop it into another container. And then what happens, once you let this sort of settle, is you’ll see there’ll be a little bit of sand right down the bottom of the pot, and you can see a few little bits of the soil still floating.
So the best way to tell is you put your finger in and just run it along the bottom. And I can feel the sand right now. So how often – how many times do you have to wash the spinach? Not once, not twice, not three times. You’ve got to wash it until it’s clean.
Next I want to show you one of my favorite vegetables. It’s a leek. It’s got kind of that oniony flavor. It’s a really delicious vegetable. But what happens with a leek – I’m just going to cut the bottom off – is it can get quite a lot of sand go down in there.
So the best way to handle the leek is firstly run your knife and cut it straight down the center, because that’s how you’re going to cut it anyway. You’re going to cut it in half. And then if I peel these leaves back, look at all that sand. See that?
So the best way is to keep it intact. Don’t separate all the leaves. Just take it over the sink and I’m going to give it a good wash with plenty of water. So let’s do the leeks and the beets at the same time. You run plenty of cold water and then just run that water down there and just give it a little bit of a scrub and make sure that each leaf or each part of the leaf has been completely cleaned and it has no sand left.
Now for the beets. So you just grab the beet, just like that, and, like I showed you before with the veggie brush, just get in there and give it a good old scrub. Lovely.
So once you’ve got beautiful clean vegetables that you’ve already prepared, you’d better get cooking.
I’m Curtis Stone, and that’s your GMC Trade Secret.